What Is Smokey Creme? Facts & Information On This Rare Coat Color


I discovered the smokey creme coat color when I was writing my article on smokey black horses. This coat color is the product of a black horse carrying two copies of the diluting creme gene. I was surprised when I found out about this color as I didn’t hardly even know that black horses were able to carry this gene, let alone produce creme foals.

What Is Smokey Creme?

Smokey Creme is a rare coat color seen in only a select few breeds of horses. This coat color consists of a horse carrying pink colored skin, a grayish-pearl-colored coat, and a white or orange-tinted mane & tail. This coat color can only be produced from two specific genes. To get a true Smokey Creme horse, the horse must carry the black coat gene as a base color, and two copies of the creme gene to dilute the color to limited pigmentation. These horses are often mistaken for Perlino or Cremello horses because of the similar color of their coats.

What Creates The Smokey Creme Coat Color?

The Smokey Creme coat color is created at the genetic level. To achieve this coat color, a horse must carry the genes for a black base coat, and two copies of the color dilution gene known as the creme gene. Without these specific genes, a horse cannot be considered a Smokey creme.

There Are 2 Main Ways These Horses Can Be Identified:

The main two ways to identify these horses are:

By Looking At The Genetic Level

Using genetics to identify these horses is the best and most accurate way to know the true coat color of a horse. An example would be a horse that looks like a cremello but that is actually a smokey creme. One of the only ways to tell the horses apart is if you look at their genetic makeup. Smokey Creme horses will always have the genetic makeup of a black base coat color with two copies of the creme gene.

By Looking At The Horse’s Physical Appearance

The physical appearance of these horses is another way to tell them apart from other creme horses or horses that have a similar coat color. Smokey Creme horses will have pink skin, a white, silver, or pearl-bronze mane and a pearl-gray coat.

What Is The Difference Between Smokey Creme & Smokey Black?

This is an example of a smokey black horse. As you can see, there is a huge difference betweenthese two coat colors.

There are two ways to tell these horses apart. Though the genetic makeup is similar, there is still a huge difference between these colors. The ways to tell these horses apart is by looking at the:

Mane & Tail

The mane and tail of a Smokey Black horse are always going to be dark and black, a trait that they kept from their black genetics. Though these horses have a black mane and tail, the Smokey Creme’s mane and tail are different in color. The Smokey Creme’s mane and tail can and will usually come in three shades. These are:

  • Silver
  • White
  • Bronze-Pearl

Coat Color

The coat color of these horse’s differs greatly. The main reason for this is that one of these horses carries one creme gene while the other carries two.

When looking at the Smokey Creme coat color, the color is very unique. These horses have a pearl or metallic-like luster or sheen to their coats. The color itself is a grayish-silver or grayish-pearl color with a slight pink undertone caused from their pink skin.

Smokey Black horses are a lot different when it comes to looking at their coat color as compared to the Smokey Creme. Smokey Black horses have a really dark coat that os best describes as off-black. These horses are often confused with bays because their coats can be similar in color tpo that of the black bay.

To learn more about Bay horses, click here!

To learn more about Smokey Black horses click here!

Genetics

The best way to identify the true color of a horse is to look at their genetics.

Smokey Black and Smokey Creme horses both have the similar trait of having black base colors, but the main difference between the two comes from the number of creme genes each horse carries. Smokey Black horses carry one copy of the creme gene while Smokey Creme horses carry two copies of this creme gene.

Skin Color

Like all horses that carry two copies of the creme gene, Smokey Creme horses have pink skin. Smokey Black horses, because of just having the one creme gene, don’t have the same level of dilution that the Smokey Creme horse has which is what keeps their skin black.

What Is The Difference Between Perlino & Smokey Creme?

This Perlino Stallion can easily be confused with a Smokey Creme horse

Perlino and Smokey Creme horses are fairly different at the genetic level, but have many similarities physically. The traits that these horses can carry to tell them apart include:

Their Mane & Tail Color

The mane and tail colors of these horses can be pretty similar, though there are some similarities. One main similarity is that both of these horses can have a bronze-colored mane even though this trait is more common in Perlino horses. Smokey Creme horses not only can have the bronze-colored mane and tail, but they can also have silver or white as their mane and tail color.

Their Genetic Makeup

Though these horses are both double dilutes (horses that carry two copies of the creme gene), there is one difference that these horses have that makes them very different.

Perlino horses, unlike Smokey Creme horses, have a bay base coat color. Smokey Creme horses have a black base coat color instead

Their Overall Coat Color

It can actually be pretty hard to tell these horses apart by their physical appearance and overall color which is why these horses are identified much easier through genetic testing.

Smokey Creme horses have a silver-pearl colored coat with a pink undertone caused by their pink skin. Perlino horses are different in the sense that their coat color is more of a muted tan-salmon hue. Because of their bay coat genetics, these horses have more red or orange tones in their coat color than the Smokey Creme does.

The Color Of Their Skin

Because both of these horses have two copies of the creme gene, they both carry the trait of pink skin.

What Is The Difference Between Cremello & Smokey Creme?

Though these horses can be kind of hard to tell apart, there are still several differences to make it easier to identify each coat color and tell them apart when they are put next to each other. These horses can be identified and told apart from one another when looking at their:

Mane & Tail

Both of these horses can be seen with a white mane and tail which can make it pretty confusing to tell them apart. One way to know is that Cremello horses will always have a white mane and tail while Smokey Creme horses will have varying coat colors that can range from a bronze-orange color to a milky-white color.

Overall Coat Color

Cremello horses have a pretty uniform coat color which is usually seen as a creamy-golden color that has a metallic or pearly sheen to it. Smokey Creme horses have a grayish-pearl colored coat that is typically seen with slight pink undertones. The main way to tell these horses apart is by noting that the Cremello coat color lighter and more golden in color that the Smokey Creme coat color.

Genetics

The main difference between these horses lies in their genetics. Cremello horses have two creme genes and a chestnut base coat color while Smokey Creme horses also have two creme genes, but have a black base coat color.

Skin Color

Because both of these horses are double dilutes, they both are seen with pink skin. If one of these horses has black skin, they cannot be considered a double dilute.

Can Smokey Creme Horses Have White Markings?

Yes, of course they can! Despite the light, pale color of these horse’s coats, they can in fact still have white markings even if they are a little hard to see. The white markings that are allowed in these horses include:

  • Star
  • Stripe
  • Blaze
  • White Face
  • Interrupted Stripe
  • Socks (includes coronets, half-pasterns, pasterns, fetlocks, half-cannons, and cannon markings)
  • Stockings (includes any knee and over-the-knee markings)

Are Smokey Creme Horses Rare?

Yes. These horses are extremely rare. I hardly even just heard about them myself! Black is already one of the less common coat colors seen in horses with bay and chestnut being more common. To get a fully black horse with two creme genes as well is really a rare and unique thing to find.

Breeds That Can Be Smokey Creme

There are many breeds that can carry the creme gene and therefore can carry this coat color. A few of these breeds include:

Breeds That Can’t Be Smokey Creme

Most horse breeds aren’t allowed to be this color due to specific breeding regulations, color specifications, or strict bloodlines. Some examples of breeds that can’t be Smokey Creme in color include:

Can The Smokey Creme Coat Color Affect A Horse’s Health?

Sadly, yes. Because these horses have so much dilution, their skin is pink and lacks much pigmentation. With this in mind, remember the effects the sun has on unprotected skin both over a long and short period of time. A lifetime of exposure from the sun with limited protection can lead to health issues such as:

  • skin issues
  • skin cancer
  • sunburn

Fun Facts On The Smokey Creme Coat Color

  • Horses that carry two creme genes in their genetics are known as double dilutes
  • Sometimes Smokey Creme horses look so much like their cousins the Perlino and the Cremello that genetic testing is sometimes needed to identify them
  • Smokey Creme foals are always born creme colored. They don’t fade into their lighter color as gray horses do.
  • The name ‘Smokey Creme’ is also known as ‘Smokey Cream,’ ‘Smoky Creme,’ and ‘Smoky Cream.’ There are four spellings!

Hailey Johnson

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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